Wrap Up And Watch Out: Scroobius Pip
Most known for his 2008 single, 'Thou Shalt Always Kill', Scroobius Pip finally released his long-awaited debut album, 'Distraction Pieces', in September of this year. The Wrap Up caught up with the Essex MC to discuss working with dan le sac, his new album, the underground music scene versus the mainstream world, why he chose to, erm, sell his beard on eBay and much more...
The Wrap Up: What's good, Scroobius Pip? Congratulations on the release of ‘Distraction Pieces’. How different was it putting together a solo album as opposed to making a record with Dan Le Sac?
Scroobius Pip: Oh, it was really similar. Although I was working with a lot of different producers, me and Dan work over email anyway. The kind of artists that we are, it's not a band. Dan builds it all – he doesn't just play a guitar and that's it – it’s one man, so we can't just go into a studio and jam. The way I write, I don't freestyle or anything – I spend time on writing. We've always worked quite separately.
TWU: ‘Distraction Pieces’ got 5/10 from Drowned In Sound and 9/10 from Data Transmission. Are you an artist who takes much notice of critics?
Scroobius Pip: I don't know, not really. When ‘Angles’ came out, we were really unknown, so the only people that were reviewing it were the people that loved it. We made sure, at that point, that we didn't take them too seriously because it was all glowing reviews. But when ‘Logic Of Chance’ came around, we reached a certain profile where places felt they had to review it, so then we got a lot of mixed reviews, because our music isn't for everyone – it isn’t easy pop, you know? You realise any review is one person's opinion and that's fine, I love that. I feel that anything that's art, you can't really grade because it's individual opinion.
TWU: What is the most memorable praise that you've received, either from a fan or a fellow artist?
Scroobius Pip: This instantly springs to mind: I did a gig years ago, before I was working with Dan, and Fly Magazine reviewed it. I was described as ‘the Louis Theroux of hip-hop’, which I loved (laughs). It didn't even say whether I was good or not, I was just happy with that.
TWU: He's not officially credited on the track title, but Travis Barker played the drums on ‘Introdiction’. How did that collaboration come about?
Scroobius Pip: 90% of the things in my career come down to luck. With Travis, Danny Lohner (of Nine Inch Nails), who produced the track, tweeted some of my lyrics. So I sent him a direct message saying, ‘I'm working on a record. If you'd like to do anything, you'd be more than welcome’, and then came the months of emails from Danny. He's from Nine Inch Nails and lives in L.A., so he knows f*****g everyone (laughs). I'd wake up and have an email saying Milla Jovovich wants to sing on one of the songs – she’s actually on ‘Introdiction’, it's her in the background. Then one of the emails was Travis Barker.
TWU: You actually put your beard on eBay after cutting it off in the ‘Introdiction’ video, and it sold for over £200! Were you more pleased or creeped out that someone bought your facial hair?
Scroobius Pip: I loved it! I didn't want to spend big budgets on marketing, so I wanted to come up with interesting things to get people talking –one of them was my beard. It sounds all cold, but it was always just to get people talking about the album. It's very odd because, the actual cutting off in the video, there are moments where you can just catch a bit of fear in my eye where I'm thinking, ‘Oh s**t!’ (Laughs)
TWU: As an underground artist, does it ever feel like there's a ceiling to success?
Scroobius Pip: I don't know. I remember I interviewed Saul Williams in Texas ages ago and I loved one of the things he said, which was that he's got no loyalty to the underground. That wasn't meant in a rude way, but anyone who's writing and believes in what they are saying should want as many people as possible to hear it. The bigger my music gets is fine by me, so long as I'm sticking to what I want to do, then that's ok. Equally, I'm fine if there is a ceiling to it, because it's wicked just getting to go out and do this.
TWU: Your approach to fashion has become somewhat of a trademark. What's it like being the guy with the trucker cap and tracksuit top in the typically flashy world of hip-hop?
Scroobius Pip: It's nice! The trucker caps have been great just because all the ones I wear, it's my mate's company. He was making all these trucker caps from day one, of which he hand stencils them all, and that just makes it all rewarding that I'm known for my trucker caps and it's my mate's brand.
TWU: Are you teaming up with Dan Le Sac again or going solo for your next project?
Scroobius Pip: The next one should be with Dan.
TWU: Any title?
Scroobius Pip: Not at all, just a concept. We had a discussion of doing a weird little EP and doing something really concept-y, but nothing's set in stone.
TWU: Finally, in one word, what will 2012 bring for Scroobius Pip?
Scroobius Pip: Olympicmania!
Stay up to date with Scroobius Pip on Twitter – www.twitter.com/Scroobiuspipyo
Words: Andy Bustard (@aboynamedandy)
Online editing: Joseph 'JP' Patterson (@Jpizzledizzle)